Environmentally Sustainable Transportation Systems

The global community faces a fragile ecosystem, expanding population and economies growing at rapid rates; while consuming greater amounts of natural resources and the knowledge that those resources are limited. Expanding global economies naturally require greater amounts of energy to sustain their growth. Transportation systems consume a significant portion of the energy needs of any economy. All nations and their industry partners need to work together to develop transportation systems that ensure economic growth, but at the same time are sustainable and preserve the ecosystem.

Issues in the government relations arena related to green and sustainable transportation include:

  • Reducing Dependence on Carbon-Based Fuels for Transportation
    The national, as well as the global, effort to develop sustainable alternative sources of fuels for transportation, which will reduce society's dependence on carbon-based fuels is one of the most important goals that is being pursued. Although there are many challenges to be faced, the end result will lessen our dependence on outside sources for energy and will strengthen security. However, success will not come quickly or cheaply. All interested parties must work together to achieve a successful solution. This includes SAE's involvement in providing technical expertise to develop cost effective and sustainable solutions. (DoT, DoE, Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], California Air Research Board [CARB])

  • Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    The extent to which greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced may be up to debate by some factions within society. Whatever the outcome of that political debate may be, SAE has been actively engaged and will continue to work with both government and industry to develop solutions that will enable society to maintain a high standard of living while at the same time preserve the environment. An example of SAE's cooperation has been its efforts between the EPA, vehicle manufacturers and mobile air conditioning refrigerant suppliers to conduct research to recommend sustainable replacement refrigerants. SAE can be the key player in the search for solutions to meet the future Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations for 2017-to-2025, which will be finalized in 2012. (EPA, DoE, DoT, U. S. Congress)

  • Increased Electrification of Transportation Sector
    No matter what the final outcome of the 2017-to-2025 CAFE regulation, the future composition of the vehicle fleet will need to include a far greater percent of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric-drive vehicles. SAE, from the beginning, has been at the forefront of the effort to develop standards and conduct forums to advance the technology required to increase the electrification of vehicles. SAE is a major participant in the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) SmartGrid Interoperability Panel, which coordinates all facets of the SmartGrid, including those related to electric vehicles. (NIST, DoT, DoE, EPA)

  • Balanced, Diverse Pathways for Vehicular Propulsion
    In order to meet the diverse needs of the consumer with respect to vehicle design, SAE believes that future propulsion systems for vehicles will be composed of many different sustainable solutions. No one propulsion system will meet all vehicle needs, whether they are for pleasure or vocational use. Developing a wide variety of clean, sustainable propulsion will ensure adoption by the parties involved. SAE has demonstrated, and will again, its ability to be a key participant to find these solutions which will benefit all. (DoT, DoE)

  • Use of Technology to Increase Efficiency and Safety in All Modes of Transportation
    The key to increasing efficiency and safety in transportation is the development of technology and the tools necessary to properly utilize the technology. Research and development (R&D) of new technology will allow future vehicles in all the transportation sectors to be safe, efficient and sustainable to their user. The R&D effort takes time and requires large outlays in both material and human capital. Government assistance in funding of the R&D effort at the pre-competitive level is essential to the global success of the all sectors of the transportation industry. SAE can be a partner in this effort by convening technology experts to form the necessary structure to help achieve success. (DoT, DoE, NASA, U.S. Congress)